Beach To Boardwalks

Leave the beach behind for the rainforest…

Tropical North Queensland is a beach paradise but a day in the rainforest is equally blissful. Try these day trips into the lush jungle…


SkyRail is one of the most magical outings in Tropical North Queensland. From its base in Smithfield, Cairns you will be scooped up and carried over the luxuriant rainforest canopy looking down on the magnificent trees and wildlife below. This 7.5km cableway has purpose-built gondolas that give a bird’s eye view of the amazing canopy of the world’s oldest and arguably most stunning tropical rainforest. 

Image by @skyrailcairns

It’s a must do – from the broad views out to sea to the Barron Falls National Park tree tops you can almost touch. There are several stops along the way, which give a ground level look at what can be seen from above, plus an encounter with the mighty Barron Falls – through a glass platform if you dare. Ranger guided tours and short boardwalk circuits add to the enjoyment at the stops. 

The cableway terminus is Kuranda where you can have a browse around the quirky town and then take SkyRail back to Cairns, or the Kuranda Scenic Railway for a look at the scenery from another perspective.

The full SkyRail experience one way will take about 90 minutes. It is open year-round except for Christmas Day. It has won more than 25 tourism awards for both being environmentally sound and a memorable visitor experience.

Malanda Falls 

Malanda Falls is an excellent destination for a jaunt into the Atherton Tablelands. The “high country” of Cairns, the Tablelands are a green haven – often cooler than the coast and packed with things to do.

Image by @coralseacrusader

The falls are a waterfall and swimming pool in one off the Johnston River. The pool at the bottom was built in 1906 and is Queensland State heritage listed. It served as Malanda’s official swimming pool for some time and is still a popular bathing spot.

With lots of green lawns to lie on or tuck into a picnic, and several bush walks it’s a gorgeous spot to visit. An excursion to the falls puts you slap bang in the middle of crater lakes and waterfall country so dally a while and take in some of the other scenic wonders from part of the world. 

Barron Falls 

The Barron Falls are a right royal treat for visitors to Tropical North Queensland. Gushing out from the mighty Barron River at Kuranda they can be heard before being seen. The river descends 125 metres over rock, in four drops. What makes this water fall so special is the jungle surrounding the torrent of water.

Image by @diegoborges___

The falls are in Barron Gorge National Park, which extends from the steamy coastal region of Lake Placid near Cairns up the Macalister Range to the Atherton Tablelands. The gorge itself descends 250 metres from the ranges to the coastal flats.

As well as easy access to the falls from a lookout on the outskirts of Kuranda, the falls can be seen from the SkyRail gondola and as a stop off on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. There are also lots of walks through the national park itself to take in the flora and fauna as well as the spectacular scenery.

The park supports more than 147 animal species, the most common being birds and butterflies. If you are lucky you may glimpse some unusual Australians such as Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo, musky rat kangaroo or the cassowary. 

You can also do rafting trips on the Barron River or a gentle wildlife spotting boat cruise and the quirky town of Kuranda is well worth having a rummage round, with its intriguing shops and lots of wildlife attractions.